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server and workstation combined

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server and workstation combined

Would like to open this small conversation about how to combine a server and one of its work stations into a single unit. Currently have a system of one server running Win NT4 on a P II at 300 mhz with three workstations running Win 98 sec. Company is too cheap to buy separate machines so am looking at ways to combine server and one work station. Need info on software and hardware and configuration info on how to accomplish this task. Basic system is just a file sharing system for a data base and shipping and receiving department. Any knowledge would be appreciated.
Joseph L. Casale
Regular Advisor

Re: server and workstation combined

You could replace the server with an ML and run the free version of ESXi, then use the weak PC's as thin clients if you want more modern OS's at the desktop, or simply use the ML as a wkst as well.

Given the client count is under 10, loading WinXP on a simple DX and sharing what you need is an option as well, virtually any HP DX wkst will have loads more power than anything their currently... And they are cheap.
Honored Contributor

Re: server and workstation combined

You should begin with requirements, then. What is this machine supposed to do? Is it going to be just a replacement of the old server (running the same applications as before), or are you planning to add new functionality? Which OS are you planning to run?

How well has the old server coped with its workload? Have the users been satisfied with it so far, or are there limitations you would wish to remove (e.g. more disk space, more processing power, faster networking, etc.)?

If your requirements are still at the level that the old server could handle, any modern system can definitely do it with plenty of power to spare.

Here's something for the decision-makers of your company to think about: The server machine is probably the central repository of the department's vital data. Is it adequately protected (in terms of insurance coverage and legal liability) if it is sitting on the desk of one of the users?

If the user sitting at the server is ever dissatisfied with the company, he's in a unique position to cause department-wide harm. Remind the decision-makers that physical access to the machine allows by-passing of many software security measures.

How well do your users understand the role of the server? Is the user on the potential server/workstation combo likely to power the system off when leaving work and thus frustrate other users' work and nightly backups/virus scans/update runs?

There will be subtle differences in the user interface between the server OS and the regular workstation version: is this going to be a problem to your users?

Is the different hardware going to be a cause of envy? (either: "ServerUser has a big powerful computer while we others have small ones, we want a big machines too!", or: "WorkstationUsers have nice, stylish, quiet computers and I have this big, loud, clunky thing; I want a nice workstation too!")

Are your users going to understand that the combo machine is more important than the other workstations, or is it possible that the users would see it as favoritism? (Psychological issues like this can seem like minor things, but may turn out to be surprisingly important!)

Servers in general (and rack-mount optimized servers especially) are optimized to fit the maximum amount of computing power to the minimum amount of space. They usually use more electrical power than an average workstation, which translates into more heat output -> more cooling is required. That means more fans and faster airflow -> more noise.

In addition, servers are designed to be placed into a server room and operated mostly remotely. A rack-mount server usually has a very low-end display controller (as the local display is expected to be used only in OS installation and hardware maintenance situations), and the BIOS of the machine may not always support installing an extra display card.

Dhanesh Amirthalingam
Regular Advisor

Re: server and workstation combined


I world suggested to buy one enterprise level server and run vm ware esx server in that
and for end users ,i would prefer you to use think client , so u can go with creating the no's of system with

dl360 g5 with hp think Clint

it will reduce the cost of economy

Re: server and workstation combined

First I wish to thank all for the come back on this but I feel we are going too big of a system here. When I said small I mean small. Nothing faster than 300 mhz and 6 gig of harddrive space. One server and 3 work stations a print server and printer in all. Server running NT4 and the work stations running 98SEC. I was hoping a 700mhz with 512 mbs ram and 30 gig drive runing XP Pro would do.Combining the server and one workstation into one unit updating the OS and trashing the print server. Wiring the printer to the network 10/100 through the net card on the printer (now using rs232 port).